Amid frosty ties, Trudeau dials PM Modi for COVID-19 vaccines
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on Wednesday requesting a shipment of COVID-19 vaccines, with the latter assuring that India would do its best to honor the appeal. The phone call comes months after India expressed strong disappointment over Trudeau's statement on the ongoing farmers' protests. The Canadian leader's words had worsened ties between New Delhi and Ottawa.
PM Modi was happy to get call from 'friend'
About the latest conversation, PM Modi said he was happy his "friend" Trudeau called. "Assured him that India would do its best to facilitate supplies of COVID-19 vaccines sought by Canada. We also agreed to continue collaborating on other important issues like Climate Change and the global economic recovery, (sic)" PM Modi's tweet read. Trudeau is also learned to have showered praises on India.
His Twitter post can be read here
Trudeau lauded PM Modi and India's pharmaceutical capacity
According to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), Trudeau told PM Modi that if the world succeeded in defeating COVID-19, it would be because of India's massive pharmaceutical capacity and also the Indian leader's decision to help other countries. Naturally, he spoke about Canada's requirements. Reportedly, Canada wants one million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, which is being mass-produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII).
India would consider domestic demands before transporting vaccines
While Canada's purchase of doses from SII would be commercial, the Indian government would still need to give necessary approvals for export. Before green-lighting transportation, India would consider the domestic demands, said reports. It is now all but obvious that Canada would receive supplies from India once public health authorities there grant the emergency use authorization to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.
Earlier, Canadian minister was cornered over procurement of vaccines
Just last week, an Opposition leader, Michelle Rempel Garner, asked Canada's Minister of Public Services and Procurement, Anita Anand, if she or Trudeau called PM Modi for vaccines. Anand answered in the negative. "I personally have not phoned Prime Minister Modi and I cannot speak for anyone else in our government," she had said. A clip of their conversation went viral on social media.
After Trudeau called PM Modi, Garner said 'Opposition pressure works'
By late 2020, Canada had sourced enough vaccines
To note, Canada was one of the first nations to source enough doses for vaccinating its entire population. But the slow roll-out by both Pfizer and Moderna affected the nation's vaccination program. Furthermore, Trudeau-led Canada also became the only G-7 country to use the COVAX pool of the World Health Organization (WHO) to get vaccines. This facility is actually meant for poorer nations.
After Trudeau spoke on agitation, India reacted sharply
The Canadian PM's call signals that he is ready to mend ties with India, weeks after his remarks on farmers' protests irked New Delhi. Earlier, he had said the news from India was concerning and that Canada will always defend the rights of "peaceful protesters." Reacting sharply, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had said that the comments were "ill-informed."